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July 28, 2012

Rangers hold hitters meeting

Getting a runner in from third with less than two outs should happen 55-60 percent of the time, Texas Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh said.

The Rangers were in that situation in the fifth and seventh innings Saturday, and came away empty handed in three trips.

For the night, they went 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position and are now 1 for 21 in those situations the opening two games -- both losses -- of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

The 0 for 13 performance is the worst for the Rangers since they went 0 for 14 with RISP on May 13, 1997 against Cleveland. The 0 for 13 also dropped them to a .187 average with RISP over the last 16 games.

Afterwards, the hitters had to sit down and talk about it. They held a rare hitters-only meeting, but believe it will be beneficial in the long run.

"Absolutely," Craig Gentry said. "Guys had to get stuff off their chest and, as an offense, we're a whole and we've got to go out there with a team approach. A meeting like that is to get away all the negative things that have been going on and leave with a good attitude.

"Teams go through little funks like this and it's just how mentally strong you are is how quick you come out of it. Tomorrow is a new day and we're going to forget about how bad we've been playing lately and just move on."

What has gone wrong with the Rangers?

Coolbaugh couldn't pinpoint one specific area, but the batters simply haven't executed in clutch situations. The Rangers had three batters -- Ian Kinsler, Leonys Martin and Gentry -- in situations with a runner on third and less than two outs and all three struck out.

"It's not like they're up there not battling," Coolbaugh said. "It's just we're not getting the job done right now.

"If there was something I could just put my finger on it and make a correction, I would definitely bring it up. If it was one thing, whether it's not a long enough fly ball or something that we could get the runner in, but we're either striking out, not getting it out there far enough or hitting a ground ball with the infield in. There's nothing right now that is clicking for us offensively in those situations.

"You would hope you could get 55-60 percent of the guys in, that's a good standard. Every one of them? Obviously not. There's going to be pitchers out there that can make pitches but we've had some opportunities with guys out there that fundamentally we should be able to get guys in. Our hitters are too good not to get those guys in."

Maybe a meeting will be all it takes.

-- Drew Davison

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